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Happy birthday, Edward Weston

March 24, 2011 | 12:45 pm

Edwardweston_box Seminal photographer Edward Weston was born 125 years ago today. Later this year, to celebrate the anniversary, AMMO Books will release a new set of his photographs. They shared a preview of its packaging, above, with Jacket Copy.

Weston was born in Chicago in 1886 -- on March 24 -- and received a camera for his 16th birthday. He followed his elder sister to California in 1906 and settled in Tropico, now part of Glendale. He married Flora Chandler, a cousin of the L.A. Times Chandlers, in 1909; she had some money, and they had four children. Weston opened a portrait studio and built his reputation as a photographer, gaining attention in national magazines. He would have a series of photographic assistants/muses/mistresses, eventually divorcing Flora in 1937.

In the early 1920s, Weston opened a studio in Mexico City where he worked with his assistant and lover Tina Modotti, photographing many significant portraits and nudes. In Mexico, he was hailed by artists Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and Jose Orozco as a major figure.

Weston moved back to California in 1926, when he began his photographs of natural forms -- shells, peppers, cabbages -- in grand closeups. In 1937 he was the first photographer ever to be awarded a Geggenheim Fellowship for the arts.

About a decade later, Parkinson's disease stopped Weston from taking photographs, but he continued to supervise the printing and circulation of his work, which was done by his sons. He died in 1958 at the age of 71. More about his work can be found at this website, begun by Weston's son Cole, also a photographer, and now maintained by his grandchildren.

Full disclosure: the designers working with AMMO, Third Thing Design, are friends of mine. I've been hearing about this book for a while, but this is the first I've seen of it.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo credit: AMMO Books.